Understanding Feng Shui with Valentina Cereda

23 Jul , 2018  

What common ground does a millennia-old Chinese practice share with contemporary interior design? More than you think.

In an increasingly digital world, you’d be hard-pressed to find an advocate for a service that doesn’t involve a computer or an app. But architect and Feng Shui practitioner Valentina Cereda believes otherwise. Looking to add a new dimension to her years of interior design experience, Valentina met with a Feng Shui Master who not only introduced the art but how to the identify the cosmic energies that affect our wellbeing. Through her new practice, Valentina hopes to apply her new skills to balance these intangible yet significant energy forms, which align with her dedication to designing spaces that create a lasting positive impact on its residents.

We chat with the enthusiastic Valentina on what Feng Shui is about, the response so far, and what a typical audit looks like.

Let’s start with what Feng Shui is all about

Sure! The form of Feng Shui I study and practice is the original one, known as Classical Feng Shui. It is an ancient science that studies how Qi (Cosmic Energies, or Chi) can be harnessed to benefit our internal and external environment. It’s been widely practised and used in Asia for over 2000 years by those looking to improve one’s wealth, health and relationships. It’s a part of the Chinese Metaphysics system that includes acupuncture, meditation and homeopathy medicine. It is based on the Yin-Yang balance and the five-elements harmony of Water, Fire, Metal, Wood and Earth.

Feng Shui is about creating balance and harmony in our life, by identifying sources of positive Qi within an environment and position a property and ourselves to receive this Qi. Classical Feng Shui relies on the traditional methods of analyzing the landforms and applying the original mathematical formulas for internal use, both being very powerful tools to facilitate success and create a healthy and balanced environment. Feng Shui is part of the Chinese Metaphysics system that is formed by the Five Arts (Wu Shu) – Mountain (Meditation), Medicine (Acupuncture and herbal medicines), Divination (Yi Gyng Oracle Cleromancy), Destiny (Astrology) and Physiognomy (Feng Shui, and any discipline that examines forms).

Feng Shui Dubai
Luopan or Geomantic Compass

What led you to pursue Feng Shui?

The driving force of my career as an interior designer has been my passion for designing spaces that can improve people’s lives and make them happier individuals. I always have and still believe that the environment we live in truly influences our lives. 

I’ve been always fascinated by the degree to which this happens, both in man-made and natural environments. There’ve been occasions in my life where I’ve found myself standing on top of a mountain or in front of a beautiful lake surrounded by trees and flowers, and I simply felt connected to that environment; I could feel nature and myself were one. It’s these type of feelings that I can’t really articulate, at the moment, which sort of pushed me to look for something more while designing a space. 

If you think about it, the different homes we live in represent a unique phase of our life. I couldn’t help but notice how my life would change (for the better or for the worse) as soon as I relocated to a new home or office space. Each space has a unique energy pattern indicative of the power to affect our life, choices and behaviour. Energy is not necessarily tangible, however, we can all feel it in our daily life. That’s why I was looking for a more holistic approach to design and I found it in Feng Shui. I recently got the chance to meet a Feng Shui practitioner with whom I worked with for an audit of our office. The process we went through and her findings astonished me and led me to become increasingly interested in understanding everything about Feng Shui. I’m always looking at how I can use it to improve my life and, through work, to help and improve my client’s experience of the spaces I design. 

You’ve told us about the ‘Classical’ form of Feng Shui that you practice. Are there other forms?

In recent years, a simplified version of Feng Shui has taken root in the West, known as “New Age Feng Shui”. This form focuses on colours, object placement and interior design only, and it no longer follows the traditional and correct principles of Feng Shui. The Classical Authentic Feng Shui, as opposed to New Age Feng Shui, deals with matters of energy in our environment and is personal to each individual. Since Qi is a natural phenomenon that can neither be created nor destroyed, it cannot be generated by man-made objects like decorative items. Having said that, I believe that each object or colour in our space has its own energy frequency that affects us; however, this isn’t a part of the Feng Shui discipline. But it does relate to other sciences, which I am also in the process of learning at the moment. 

Feng Shui Dubai
Missing Sector Analysis

Talk us through a typical consultation with a client and what happens after your initial visit.

The audit process for an existing residential project – an apartment or villa – can be broken down into a 4-step process. The First Step, and the most important one, is to understand and set the client’s objectives and focus on their areas of concerns. The floor plan and the birthdates of the residents are essential information required to start the Feng Shui analysis.

The Second Step involves an evaluation of the features that could impact the quality of your home’s Feng Shui. It involves a site survey, which is divided into two parts –  the first, a survey of the external environment within a 10 km radius around the property where I analyze what energy patterns affect the residents within. The second is a survey of the property itself which includes a visual survey of the internal forms and using the Luo Pan Compass to measure the directions of key areas of the home. 

The Third Step – after the site surveys, I analyze all findings and apply relevant formulas required. Depending on each client and their objectives, there are different formulas I would use that relate to specific energy patterns. In some cases, a follow-up meeting is required to discuss my initial findings. For example, in one of my audits, I found a strong negative energy pattern in a couple’s bedroom which I suspected caused lots of fights and arguments between them. I asked them if they were actually fighting a lot since they moved into the home, (their answer was YES). I then proposed a remedy to remove this negative energy. It’s very important to identify a problem’s root cause to be able to recommend the correct remedy.

The Final Step – I handover a Feng Shui Audit report to my clients after a couple of weeks from the first meeting. This report will provide suggestions and remedies to balance or enhance the Feng Shui of a home.

All the above steps relate to a Feng Shui Audit for an existing apartment or villa. For other spaces such as a corporate office, shop or a restaurant, the process varies and the elements considered in the analysis vary as well. For more details, you can check out my website.

What’s been the response so far?

People are usually fascinated by what I can read from the analysis of their home, and how I can pick up on issues and problems they’re going through just by putting together all the Feng Shui assessments. There’ve been sceptics who’ve not applied my remedies, and then there are others who’ve done so diligently. The latter has seen improvements in their lives. I always follow up with my clients to make sure the remedies are in place correctly and the results come along as well. 

Feng Shui Dubai
Noble Man Formula

Are there any famous, or popular examples of spaces that incorporate Feng Shui into their design?

There are quite a few global companies that have incorporated Feng Shui in the design of their HQ and offices worldwide. To name a few – Coca-Cola, Orange, HSBC, British Airways, Hiscox Insurance, Hilton Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Building Research Establishment), University of Westminster – School of Architecture & the Built Environment, the NHS, DEWA in Dubai, and many hotels in Las Vegas are built according to the Feng Shui principles. All of these are of course publicly referenced and the information is available with a quick google search. 

The Vatican and the Egyptian Pyramids, as well as many other ancient buildings, are built on so-called ‘Power Spots’ which in Feng Shui terminology are called ‘Meridian Spots’. These are areas on the earth where powerful energy is present, that will ensure the buildings located on and around it be very successful and powerful.

Feng Shui Dubai
Allowing in plenty of sunlight is an effective way to fill your home with positive energy

Any quick tips for our readers?

Feng Shui is always tailored to an individual or users of the space, however, there are some general principles as well. For example, for a home you should avoid having the bed aligned with the bedroom door – this causes energy to rush towards the bed and can disrupt sleeping patterns. For an office space, you should avoid having your back to a closed office or meeting room door, as you will lose power and authority. To be in a position of strength, always face the door but make sure your chair does not align directly with the door. 

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